Former state bar president is charged with stealing $16K from her former law firms and bar
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Corrected: The former president of the Washington State Bar Association has been charged with stealing about $16,000 from the bar and her two former Spokane-area law firms.
Court filings allege that Haynes used law firm credit cards for personal expenses such as political donations and a gym membership. She is also accused of receiving reimbursements from the WSBA for expenses never incurred. And she is accused of receiving reimbursements from the WSBA to repay charges for bar work made on her law firm credit cards, without fully reimbursing her law firms.
Haynes is accused of stealing about $10,800 from the law firm Witherspoon Kelley and about $3,800 from the law firm McNeice Wheeler, according to an affidavit of facts. She is also accused of stealing about $1,500 from the WSBA for conduct that began in 2014.
McNeice Wheeler recouped the stolen money by withholding it from her last paycheck, according to Haynes’ instruction, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also alleged that Haynes stole nearly $9,500 from the state bar from October 2010 through September 2013 by receiving reimbursement for charges made on the credit card for another law firm where Haynes worked, Reed & Giesa. Haynes did not forward the reimbursement money to Reed & Giesa, according to the recollection of a bookkeeper cited in the affidavit. That conduct was not charged, however.
Haynes was the youngest bar president in the state’s history when she began her term in October 2016. She resigned in June 2017 after the allegations surfaced.
Haynes’ lawyer, Kevin Curtis, provided this statement to NBC Right Now and Law.com: “We are extremely disappointed that after 20 months the prosecutor has now decided to file charges. We have not received any investigative reports and will not be making any further statements until we have had the opportunity to thoroughly review and investigate the charges, including the issues surrounding the delay.”
Corrected on Oct. 23 to state that Haynes was only charged with stealing about $1,500 from the WSBA, though an affidavit alleged the total amount taken from the bar was about $11,000. Story also updated to state more specific amounts allegedly stolen from the law firms.